Should Minnesota provide relief for Lake Mille Lacs resort owners?

Gov. Mark Dayton is holding a town hall meeting today in Isle, Minn. to discuss the needs of resort owners of Lake Mille Lacs. The DNR is closing the walleye season early due to low numbers of fish in the lake. Dayton is advocating a special session to address the economic woes of the resort owners, writes MPR News reporter Tom Scheck.

DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk agrees a working group should be formed to discuss the walleye situation on Mille Lacs. But he also supports Dayton’s call for a special session. Bakk disagrees with the notion that state government should not help area businesses. He said the Legislature helps other industries, including taconite workers on the Iron Range, farmers and turkey producers.

“We’re creating less volume in business traffic, so I think we have some obligation,” Bakk said. “It’s kind of like if we took a road out and you can’t access your business any longer. There’s a process, through the Legislative Coordinating Commission, where a business can come and look for relief in those kind of situations, and they do.”

Bakk said the details of public assistance have to be worked out, but it could likely include zero-interest loans, tourism promotion and property tax relief.

Dayton, too, defended the idea of providing state help to resort owners. A recent economic survey of Mille Lacs County showed that 22 percent of the workforce is in the leisure and tourism industry. That’s second only to education and health services.

Today’s Question: Should Minnesota provide relief for Lake Mille Lacs resort owners?

  • PaulJ

    If they do it for others they’d should do it for Mille Lacs, contingent on finding fault and on cooperation on remediation.

  • KTN

    No. To what end does this serve, other than giving handouts (welfare) to those undeserving. As business owners they should know that there are risks, and that the government is not responsible for bailing them out when an externality (climate change) challenges their livelihood. It’s unfortunate, but it’s not for us to ensure they stay in business.

    • Pearly

      Cold blooded. I like it

      • KTN

        I know, I surprised myself too. Almost sound like a Libertarian.

        • Pearly


  • DGS

    Yes – they help farmers after bad storms and home owners for the same reasons. What seems most important here is that the DNR has no support of the locals and in my opinion they are the ones that are most objective on the issues at hand in there own backyard.

    • David P.

      I think you are referring to FEMA.
      Do you think Governor Dayton should petition to have Mille Lacs declared a disaster area, and apply for federal aid?

  • Mini

    I’m not sure about this, but I do know that the notion would not even be in consideration if our Indians’ welfare were only at risk. That might inform my answer. What it seems to come down to is whether or not the tourist fishing industry is of central importance to Minnesota.

    • Me

      OUR Indians?

  • Pearly

    I love listening to the Gov. Talk.
    Lorrrlizzering. Walleye. Lorrrlizzering. Resort. Rorrrizzerzz. Brilliant!

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    Considering that it was largely a failure of the state and federal governments, followed by a limp-wristed DNR, that led to the invasion of zebra mussels and spiny water fleas into Mille Lacs–which in turn is likely at the root of the walleye decline–then helping local businesses is probably a reasonable idea.

  • Mark Countryman

    What would the relief effort look like? A $$$$ cash payment to the resort owners for supposed revenue loss? Who would determine the exact amount? (Let us not forget that, in true Minnesota generosity, Zygi Wilf ,Carl Pohlad, et al, have each received generous “relief efforts” from the State, to ease their suffering & pain during their hard times.)